Deep Sea Diver: Impossible Weight (ATO/High Beam) - review | Under The Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Tuesday, November 30th, 2021  

Impossible Weight

ATO/High Beam

Oct 22, 2020 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Deep Sea Diver’s third studio album, Impossible Weight, began life during an intense period of inner turmoil and self-doubt, which saw songwriter and guitarist Jessica Dobson begin to question whether she even wanted to continue with the band. However, by opening up about her feelings, and with the support of her bandmates and husband Peter Mansen (also Deep Sea Diver’s drummer), Dobson began to see the light again. And in the process, she has produced one of her most emotionally honest and open albums to date.

Impossible Weight is an album that ebbs and flows, switching between flashes of raging propulsive power, driven by Dobson’s incendiary innovative guitar playing, to moments of calm reflection. And on a track such as the hugely impressive seven-minute “Eyes Are Red (Don’t Be Afraid)” Dobson combines these conflicting emotions effortlessly as the song builds to an epic instrumental breakdown where her glorious guitar work takes center stage. “Lyrically that’s the most uncomfortable song for me on the album,” she says in the album’s press materials, adding it was “partly inspired by Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and the collective trauma endured by women everywhere.”

“Lights Out,” the album’s first single, is again illuminated by Dobson’s innovative guitar flourishes showcasing exactly why she’s previously been in demand as a touring musician for the likes of Beck, The Shins, and Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

The album’s title track, “Impossible Weight,” is about falling apart and then picking up the pieces and features an appearance from the always wonderful Sharon Van Etten adding another layer of majesty and opulence to proceedings. It’s an album that addresses weighty subject matters. For example, “Wishing” was inspired by a documentary about Nina Simone and Dobson explains in the press materials: “She had a husband who was physically and emotionally abusive to her, and it made me think about the idea of being under the thumb of someone else, and not knowing how to get in control of your life again.”

Impossible Weight is a body of work that makes far more sense when played in the correct order. The dreaded “shuffle” button certainly won’t help you experience the album’s resplendent peaks and troughs in the way the artist intended. Ultimately it’s an album of warmth and honesty and it paints a picture of somebody fighting back. Although some of the themes could be considered bleak, it’s Dobson’s buoyant melodies allied to her gusty and candid lyrics that imbue the whole affair with an overriding sense of optimism and empowerment. As she puts it in the press materials, she hopes people “recognize that it’s okay to fall apart and that they’re meant to let others in instead of trying to work through everything on their own. Because the point is that the impossible weight isn’t yours to carry alone—that’s why it’s impossible.” (

Author rating: 8/10

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Average reader rating: 8/10


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Josh Bledsoe
December 16th 2020

Great review! Love this album. Not enough people are listening to it!

June 19th 2021

Ultimately it’s an album of warmth and honesty and it paints a picture of somebody fighting back.

- Drywall Contractor